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Real Happiness Challenge: Week 2 Mindfulness of Body, A Path Towards Actually Liking Your Body

                       pic:Karanovic.org                                                               Pic:Austinchronicle.org


Mindfulness of body is the practice of observing our felt sensations. It is a way to be with our perceptions, without attaching to the stories we tell ourselves about our experience. For example, one very popular story we tell ourselves is: “I feel fat” or “I should work out.”  As my friend, spoken word activist Caroline Rothstein exclaims: “Fat is not a feeling,” and she’s right. Rarely is there an actual sensation of “fatness.” On a purely sensational level, we can experience discomfort in our body, stiffness, or the feeling of skin against skin.  Our brain then labels the sensation as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. If we let our minds go one step further, we could hear all kinds negative judgments of ourselves or what new food or exercise regime we must embark on to feel ok.

-Kelly Ulmer pic: http://bodyacceptancemovementuf.tumblr.com/


What if we just stopped and only observed the bare sensations in our bodies? Sharon Salzberg describes this as working with direct perception. By developing a practice of just observing sensation, and separating this from the inevitable “stories,” Salzberg calls “add-ons”, we can begin to accept our physical, receptive, feeling body. This way, we can begin to appreciate our body and the inherent goodness it possesses. Over time, we can appreciate the wide spectrum of experiences available to us in our internal world.


Having mindfulness of body and embracing the practice of feeling the fluctuation of sensation also builds our capacity to tolerate pain. Salzberg suggests that by inviting curiosity towards our pain, we cultivate a relationship that is neither clinging to the “good”, nor pushing away the “bad”. This practice allows us to experience the always-changing moment in a new way. Through the building of this tolerance, we can begin to slowly accept the reality of always being in the unknown. Over time, accepting the sensations in our bodies will lead us to believing fewer terrible stories about them. With enough observation and distance from the stories we make up about ourselves, eventually we can even come to truly like and appreciate our bodies.


Ways to Practice Mindfulness Of Body with Sharon Salzberg’s 28-day Meditation Challenge:


Body Scan Meditation

Walking Meditation

Everyday Activities (brushing teeth, drinking tea)


Alanis Morisette’s 19 Tools To Come Home To Your Body


Adrienne’s activities to practice mindfulness of body (and for more info on blogger):

Moving Meditation Workshops


IDP is participating in lineage mentor Sharon Salzberg's REAL HAPPINESS Meditation Challenge.  This 28-day practice follows the the program outlined in Sharon’s New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness for the entire month of February. We encourage everyone to join us; since 2011, thousands have participated in this challenge which will help you develop your meditation with support from the entire community.​



This blog entry is also in honor of national eating disorder awareness week at the end of this month.



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